LOOK: 'Dekada 70' staged as a musical

Jervis Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 10 2018 05:03 PM

A scene from the musical "Dekada 70." Courtesy of Vladimeir Gonzales 

A scene from the musical "Dekada 70." Courtesy of Vladimeir Gonzales 

A scene from the musical "Dekada 70." Courtesy of Vladimeir Gonzales 

A scene from the musical "Dekada 70." Courtesy of Vladimeir Gonzales 

A scene from the musical "Dekada 70." Courtesy of Vladimeir Gonzales 

A scene from the musical "Dekada 70." Courtesy of Vladimeir Gonzales 

A scene from the musical "Dekada 70." Courtesy of Vladimeir Gonzales 

A scene from the musical "Dekada 70." Courtesy of Vladimeir Gonzales 

A scene from the musical "Dekada 70." Courtesy of Vladimeir Gonzales 

A scene from the musical "Dekada 70." Courtesy of Vladimeir Gonzales 

A scene from the musical "Dekada 70." Courtesy of Vladimeir Gonzales 

A scene from the musical "Dekada 70." Courtesy of Vladimeir Gonzales 

A scene from the musical "Dekada 70." Courtesy of Vladimeir Gonzales 

A scene from the musical "Dekada 70." Courtesy of Vladimeir Gonzales 

A scene from the musical "Dekada 70." Courtesy of Vladimeir Gonzales 

A scene from the musical "Dekada 70." Courtesy of Vladimeir Gonzales 

A scene from the musical "Dekada 70." Courtesy of Vladimeir Gonzales 

A scene from the musical "Dekada 70." Courtesy of Vladimeir Gonzales 

MANILA -- The award-winning film 'Dekada 70' is back, this time not on the silver screen, but onstage.

UP Dulaang Laboratoryo mounted a four-night run of the classic by Lualhati Bautista, this time as a thesis production of Palanca Award-winning theater artist Pat Valera, who staged the successful "Mula sa Buwan" at Ateneo de Manila University in 2016.

The stage adaptation is a retelling of the story of the Bartolome family who lived through the tumultuous '70s. With a Marcos loyalist for a patriarch and sons joining the underground movement to topple the dictatorship, their household had political dynamics like no other.

Originally played by Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon, the characters of Julian and Amanda Bartolome are now played by real-life thespian couple Juliene Mendoza and Stella Cañete-Mendoza. Raising five boys during the Martial Law was no easy feat. It asks the question: How can one roof be a home to clashing political beliefs?

The piece harrowingly puts to life various layers of love -- love for the family vis-a-vis love for the country. It was a polemical discourse against authoritarianism. Jules Bartolome, the eldest of the brood, eventually joins the resistance movement, against his parents' wishes. But the family soon learns how to accept and respect their decisions. It is a story of sacrifice during the struggle to gain lost freedoms.

The two-hour musical features new songs by Matthew Chang and Valera himself. Young millennial actors from the University of the Philippines and Ateneo completed the cast.

Staged at the UP School of Labor and Industrial Relations auditorium, 'Dekada 70' was a rather intimate experience, as it only accommodated an audience of 80 people. 

Valera refers to his adaptation of the classic piece as his "alay sa bayan" (offering for the country).

In the audience during opening night were theater luminaries Antonio Mabesa, Alexander Cortez, and College of Arts and Letters Dean Amihan Ramolete, who served as Valera's adviser in his production. The writer of the novel, Bautista, also graced the premiere.

"Dekada 70" was originally written by Bautista in 1983. Almost two decades later, it was made into a film in 2002. Directed by Chito Rono, the movie reaped awards and recognition from here and abroad. 

"Dekada 70" is showing in UP until Tuesday, but reservations are recommended. They will be back for a re-run soon.